Instructions for Operating a Snowplow

by Joshua BlackUpdated September 26, 2017
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snow image by Brett Bouwer from

Operating a snowplow requires practice and the proper instruction. Snowplowing is a quick way to start your own seasonal business, because you don't have to hard-sell your customers on this much-needed service. You can get your first customer by asking around at local businesses. Before you plow for your first client, practice operating your plow in a large empty area without snow. With a few hours of practice, you will be ready to operate your own snowplow and begin making some money.

Familiarize yourself with the in-cab controls of your plow, moving the blades up and down, changing the angle of the blades, and learning the plow's distance from the truck.

Practice driving with the plow on the front of your truck. Raise the blade of the plow completely off the ground. Practice parking your truck and maneuvering around obstacles, such as an orange parking cone.

Practice driving with the plow in plowing position. Drop the plow to the ground with the in-cab controls. Angle the plow to one side of the truck and allow the plow to scrape the empty parking lot. This technique will help you learn to drive with the extra weight on the front of the truck.

Practice the "power V" technique. Adjust the blades of the plow in a "V" position with the point facing away from the truck. In a snow-filled parking lot, you will use this technique to make the first pass through a deep area or to plow a long driveway in deep snow.

Practice the "scoop position." Angle the plow in a "V" with the point facing the cab. This plowing position allows you to collect the snow in front of you instead of pushing it off to the sides.

Practice the "angle position." Drive down the first pass with three-fourths of the blade covered with snow. Driving behind a plow covered completely with snow will cause the snow to fall to the outside of the blade.

Practice the "straight position." Angle the blade so that it's parallel with the front of the truck. This technique is for quickly plowing large lots and makes piles of snow at the end of each row.

Practice the "backdrag." When you have to plow snow that is piled up against a structure, raise the plow blade and drive toward the structure. When you are close enough so that the blade of the plow is almost touching the wall of the structure, drop the plow blade and reverse the truck, dragging the snow with you. Once the snow is far enough away from the building, raise the blade again, move the truck behind the snow pile, angle the blade and push the snow off to one side.

In deeper snow, do not drop the blade all the way to the ground. Drag off layers of the pile until it's low enough to remove completely.

Clean up at the end of your job. If there are any small snow piles left behind or any snow runoff from plowing with an angled blade, move the plow into the straight position and clean up the lot completely to leave behind a professional-looking job.

Items you will need

  • Truck with plow

  • Empty parking lot

  • Orange parking cones

  • Snow-filled parking lot


In very deep snowfall situations, take small sections at a time. This process will take longer, but it will put less wear on your truck.


The plow blade is wider than the truck. Be sure that you allow for extra room when passing another vehicle and when you are backing up or parking.

Plowing will wear out your truck much faster than daily driving. Make sure you account for vehicle maintenance when you are bidding on plowing jobs.

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